Sunday, October 9, 2011

Religiosity isn't Rational

It's been proven through functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI):

Their findings:

A comparison of both stimulus categories suggests that religious thinking is more associated with brain regions that govern emotion, self-representation, and cognitive conflict, while thinking about ordinary facts is more reliant upon memory retrieval networks

This is why you can't talk believers out of their belief with reasoning.  They have their emotional lives and self-image involved.  You can only chip away at it.  Their leaders are so resistant to anything contrary to their "facts" being taught to their children because they know that faith can't be overturned, it can only be undone in pieces.  If children learn the truth about the real world, they'll have a self-image based on the real world, not on their fantasy world.  They will grow up, and religion doesn't want grown-ups.  Grown-ups won't get out of bed on Sunday morning and put hard-earned money into the collection plate.

They also perceive themselves in a different way than non-believers do.  They use a different part of their brain when judging themselves and others.  They also use different parts of their brain when imagining God's positive or negative emotionsThere are two parts of the brain involved for the task of self-judgment vs. putting oneself into another's mind

Later in life, the hippocampus shrinks more in born-agains than other believers or in non-believers.   This can lead to Alzheimers.  Why am I not surprised?


krissthesexyatheist said...

Of the many many ways, and I do mean many ways, to debuck Christianity, I heart the brain science the best. Philosophy is cool and biology and history, but understanding the evolved human brain...that has got to be the best. Thanks buddy.


LadyAtheist said...

Yeppers. It cuts the experiential argument off at the knees.

r503 said...

I'm pretty sure that in The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris, I read that Harris' research showed the opposite,that in fMRI tests statements like "god exists" used the same parts of the brain as "2+2=4".

I'm gonna have to look that up again.

LadyAtheist said...

I think the study I quote defines religious "thinking" differently. If you consider it a fact that "God exists" then it would light up the same region of the brain as other facts. I wonder if they've ever hooked up an atheist and run these same tests.